Thursday, February 3, 2011

Diana Abu-Jaber on Shish Kabobs!

ROBERTA: We so enjoyed having Diana Abu-Jaber visit yesterday, that I asked if we could borrow one of the recipes from her memoir.

"This is one of the secrets of shish kabob: how quickly it dries and hardens on the skewer. Not like a roast leg of lamb or breasts of chicken that fall off the bone when you cook them long and ruthlessly enough. Shish kabob is fierce. It comes charred and crusty outside and pink, almost wet red inside, richly redolent, in its special way, of marrow and pepper. It sizzles in your mouth and tastes faintly of the earth." From THE LANGUAGE OF BAKLAVA by Diana Abu-Jaber


4 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
2 Tablespoons red vinegar
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into small cubes
1 large onion, cut into chunks
1 large tomato, cut into chunks

Whisk together the oil, wine, garlic, and spices in a large bowl. Add the meat and stir to coat it thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate overnight; turn occasionally. Thread the cubes of lamb on skewers, occasionally adding a piece of onion or tomato. Grill over hotcoals, turning once. Cook to medium rare and eat while still sizzling.

JRW: Thank you Diana--and readers, she'll stop by to today to check for any last questions on writing, family, or food!


  1. This looks fabulous. I'm making it...come the thaw!

    I love lamb. I make a butterflied boned leg of lamb, Greek style, marinated in lemon juice and olive oil and oregano and garlic and onion and then grilled and served rare with an egg lemon sauce.

  2. Hallie,

    That sounds absolutely incredible-- I'll be right over!

  3. OH, my goodness, I'm woozy with wanting to try this!

    We grill rack of lamb outside on charcoal--make a paste of dijon mustard, olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk til it's the consistency of mayonnaise...and coat the lamb all over.

    Sear on one side, sear on the other side...the cover the grill til the lamb is done.
    Yum ymu yum..

  4. Oh yum, I'm obsessed with grilling up some lamb.

  5. Hubby hates lamb so they only lamb I get are lamb chops on the grill and that was such a forever ago. This looks soooo delicious. I long for leg of lamb, but can you really make leg of lamb for one?

  6. Pat,
    A leg is a lot for one, but kabobs are great for a party or book club.